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Friday, 21 March 2014

Silla Superiority Complex, Part VI: Royal Tomb of Queen Jindeok, Second Queen of Silla

Queen Jindeok of Silla (Hanja: 眞德女王) reigned as Queen of Silla, one of the Three Kingdoms of Korea, from 647 to 654. She was the kingdom's 28th ruler, and its second reigning queen following her predecessor Queen Seondeok. During her reign, Silla jockeyed with Baekje for favor in the Chinese Tang court. She is also known for writing a poem of the Emperor Gaozong of Tang Dynasty.

Queen Jindeok ascended the throne and became the Silla's second Queen regnant after Queen Seondeok. The last monarch from the ranks of the Seonggol, the highest class in the Silla's unique caste system, her real name is Kim Seungman (not to be confused with the First President of ROK, Syngman Rhee a.k.a Yi Seungman). Her father was Kim Gukbangalmun, who was King Jinpyeong's youngest brother, and her mother was Lady Wolmyeong. Her predecessor, Queen Seondeok was her cousin.

During her seven-year reign Queen Jindeok's primary concern was foreign policy. With the help of general Kim Yushin she was able to strengthen Silla's defenses and greatly improve her kingdom's relations with Tang China. Those efforts laid the foundation for the unification of the three kingdoms (Silla, Baekje, and Goguryeo). She also expanded the Pumju tax-collecting system.

Her tomb is located on the hill in Oryu-ri 217-beonji, HyeonGok-myeon, Gyeongju City, Northern Gyeongsang Province - The Capital City of Silla Kingdom. Although some historians have doubt that if it is really the tomb of Queen Jindeok. According to the Samguk Sagi she was buried at Saryangbu, which is located in the opposite direction from the tomb.

Her successor, King Taejong-Muyeol the Great played the pivotal role in unifying Silla Kingdom into one nation. On his first phase of the unification, he defeated Goguryeo in 660. Eight years later, The son of King Taejong-Muyeol the Great, King Munmu the Great a.k.a Kim Beop-min finally unified Silla into a single-nation after defeating Baekje.